3 new things KPRC2 has learned about deadly Harding Street shootout

By Mario Diaz - Reporter, Cory McCord - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - KPRC2 is learning new bits of information after Houston police officers raided a house on Harding Street in the Pecan Park neighborhood on Jan. 28.

Officials said the raid was part of a drug investigation. When officers entered the home, they were met by an aggressive dog, which was shot by one officer.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said that 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle walked out of a back room in the home and used a .357 revolver to start shooting at the officers, wounding one of them. Acevedo said that as the wounded officer fell on a living room couch, 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas tried to grab his weapon.

Officers returned fire, killing both Tuttle and his wife, Nicholas.

During the raid, investigators said a total of four officers were wounded by gunfire. A fifth officer suffered an injury to his knee during the shootout.

Court records showed that Tuttle had no criminal history in Harris County.

KPRC2

Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas along with photos of gunshot holes inside the house on Harding Street where the couple was shot to death by Houston police during a botched raid on Jan. 28, 2019.

Here are three new things KPRC2 Investigates has learned about the investigation.

For nearly 100 days, Channel 2 Investigates has exposed several key angles of the investigation into the deadly botched raid along Harding Street. The series of investigative reports have put the raid in the spotlight as the Houston Police Department, Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI attempt to piece together the mystery that led to the four officers getting shot as well as the shooting deaths of Tuttle and Nicholas.

1. Kim Ogg's plans for criminal cases

Channel 2 Investigates learned that Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has a timeline in place as to when her office may be presenting a criminal case to a grand jury.

"I think we are working on schedule and I think you can expect to see something, a case presented or cases presented to grand juries this summer," Ogg said in a recent interview with Channel 2 Investigates.

Ogg’s office is in the midst of reviewing more than 2,200 criminal cases tied to HPD narcotics officers Gerald Goines and fellow narcotics officer Steven Bryant.

"People are going to see what really happened. We'll get to the truth," Ogg said.

2. Nicholas' attorney says evidence remains at house

Meanwhile, as the investigation continues through the eyes of three law enforcement agencies, the family is taking the law into their own hands with attorneys and forensics teams.

Channel 2 Investigates was with Cliff Tuttle the afternoon of April 16 as he toured his nephew’s home for the first time since the shooting.

Mike Doyle, a lawyer for the Nicholas family, claims his team found sloppy forensics work at the home.

"There are bullets still in the walls,” he revealed to Channel 2 Investigates.

Doyle said there is a lot of evidence that went uncollected by investigators in the days following the raid.

"When you have something this serious that everybody knows from the get-go, looking at the crime scene that still hasn't been fully evaluated, documented, it is really disturbing," Doyle said.

3. HPD gets new Narcotics Division commander

Channel 2 Investigates also has learned that HPD’s Narcotics Division will have a new leader effective May 18.

Channel 2 Investigates has learned that HPD Cmdr. Paul Follis is being transferred to Hobby Airport.

HPD says the head of the department’s Mental Health Division, Cmdr. William Staney, will be taking over narcotics.

A department spokesperson says it is all part of a department-wide shuffle involving 10 commanders.

KPRC2 leading coverage on Harding Street raid

Since the first reports of the raid, Channel 2 Investigates has been investigating into what led to the shootout.

There have been several big reveals identified by Channel 2 Investigates.

The biggest came on the morning of Feb. 15. An affidavit showed that lying cops manufactured an unlawful warrant giving officers the green light to go in without knocking.

Hours after KPRC2 broke the story, Acevedo doubled-down on his department's actions, telling Channel 2 Investigates, "It's really important for the community to realize, we still had reason to be at that home, we should not draw final conclusions as disturbing as it is, until we discover every single investigative lead.”

When KPRC2 informed the chief that he indicated HPD had reason to be at that home even though there appeared to be no reason listed in the affidavit? Acevedo said, “But remember that affidavit is but one piece of a very comprehensive investigation."

Since then, Channel 2 Investigates has revealed a barrage of search warrants filed by officers within the Special Investigations Unit aimed at seeking information on Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant, including data from their cellphones and offices. Goines and Bryant were both relieved of duty and then retired after the botched raid.

In mid-March, Channel 2 Investigates was first to report that Angel August, an officer involved in the internal investigation into Harding Street, was relieved of duty.

Around the same period, KPRC2 also reported on a questionable 911 call. On Jan. 31, Acevedo described the call: "The officer wrote a detailed note within the call slip history to document their actions, what they had learned and what they had done.”

Our own investigation revealed the officer's call slip had no details and no police report was actually filed after that 911 call.

On April 16, Channel 2 Investigates was the only Houston TV station and the first media organization to take a tour inside the home where the shooting took place.

It was inside the bullet-riddled kitchen that Cliff Tuttle, Dennis’ uncle, questioned why his nephew was shot.

When asked if he felt that cops had a reason to be inside the home? Tuttle said, “No. Definitely not.”

Timeline of events:

 

 

Copyright 2019 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.